NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Sen. Yvonne Miller (D-Norfolk)
passed away at her Norfolk home on July 3, and many of her acquaintances remember her as a passionate woman.
"She never mixed words," former Delegate Paula Miller said. "You knew exactly where she stood and exactly how she felt, because she was passionate. She was honest to the cause."
Miller was considered a political pioneer - she was the first black woman to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates and in the Virginia Senate.
"Her legacy is larger than being the first," said Norfolk's vice mayor Anthony Burfoot. "She transcended race. She transcended gender."
Miller first took office in 1984. Friends said she fought hard to make Hampton Roads better.
"If we needed someone to call on from the City of Norfolk to carry important legislation, Yvonne Miller was that person," Burfoot said.
Paula Miller said Miller was loyal to her constituents.
"When you think of Yvonne Miller you think of a legacy," Paula Miller said. "You just know that she was about serving her constituents. What more could you ask for?"
As much as she loved serving, her first love was education. She was first a teacher with Norfolk Public Schools and then a professor at Norfolk State University.
"Senator Miller was a good case of someone that rose from the classroom to the state house," Norfolk State University president Tony Atwater said. "She never stopped teaching. Her methods were simple. Education was the key to realizing dreams."
Friends say Miller battled to the end, never letting anyone how sick she was. She always put on a smile in efforts to focus on the next task.
"As one would say in church, 'she ran the perfect race' and as her maker would say a 'job well done,"' Burfoot added.
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